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  1. #1
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    Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    I'm a newb getting back into high end audio after a 40+ year hiatus. Just wondered if there's a clear cut favorite? I'm especially interested to hear why one is chosen over the other.

    Are tube amps generally considered superior or do they just sound different? It seems to me that high end audiophiles prefer tubes. But I've also read that there have been many improvements to SS amps making them the relative equals of tube amps.

  2. #2
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    For pure sound enjoyment, I prefer all tubes in my amp and preamp. I usually default to a tube preamp and solid state amp for convenience. Tubes require more maintenance but some of the newer or more advanced tube gear have protections built in for aging and failing tubes.

    Tubes are a little sweeter and can have a little more air and three dimension. Solid state is usually rock solid reliable. If you are a set and forget kind of guy, solid state is easier to use. Every amp and preamp sounds a little different and depending on speakers, you need to pick what sounds best to you.
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  3. #3

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Solid state. I have no desire to fuss with tubes.

  4. #4
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Like Joe I would prefer all tubes but in the end the heat from higher powered tube amps is too much so I end up with tube pre-amps and SS or Hybrid amps.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    All tubes. But admittedly, solid state today is kicking ass and taking names.

    I guess I still find tubes still win out for ultimate organic sound.

    Love tubes on my guitar amp too.


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  6. #6
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Going from SS to tubes at the moment, enjoy tweaking the sound characteristics by rolling tubes, different flavors from the same amp! As has been said, many circuits are designed to minimize wear on the tubes so they can last a long time.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Forgot to mention I use both tube and SS preamps for recording. I use the tube pre (Universal LA610) for vocals and bass and I use a SS pre (Millennia HV-3C) that's specifically designed for acoustic instruments) for acoustic guitar, banjo, and mandolin.

  8. #8
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    I too prefer a tube or hybrid-tube pre-amplifier running with a solid-state power amplifier.

    It's kind of like the best of both worlds.
    .

  9. #9
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Since I can't have both tube and SS systems at this point, I have solid state. I prefer the typically faster transients and leading edges solid state provides.

    The lines are becoming more blurred between the two in regards to killing stereotype sound characters. However, to get tubes that approach the control of SS, and SS with the virtues of tubes, you have to spend some sizeable sums of money.

    Another must for me is horse power. I suppose I could get pretty close to what I wanted in tubes with an Octave Audio integrated and an efficient speaker that sounded good.

    It really comes down to your taste and what your ears like. Though I listen to a lot of higher energetic music at time, if I had found what I was looking for in a more efficient speaker back when I had my CJ system, things might be different right now. I still may not have the leading edges or fastest transients, but there's trade offs and other aspects keep you from caring.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    No substitute for power IMO ,,

    Matching amp to load is whats most critical, a good SET on the right speaker load is hard to beat , i have in the past heard it done by well built and sorted SS amps , a rare beast today apparently ...

    Only a handful of Tooby amps actually sounds good , same for SS , SS works for me, Toobs do too ..

    All about the load ...

    Regards

  11. #11
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    I go back and forth. I don't need tons of power and I love amplifiers and preamps that suck you into the music. The little T+A amplifier is a great sounding SS amp; I really enjoy a good class A amplifier such as the First Watt. I will switch my SS in when I am in the mood... but... tubes have grabbed me...

    The SET mono blocks are just magical... if you don't need to knock the walls down but want the most musical amplifiers SET is hard to beat. Whenever I put my SS in the system I fairly quickly get itching for that magic .

    The tubes themselves make huge differences, but there in lies the biggest issue with tubes... that rabbit hole of tube rolling... but there in also is where much of the magic happens.
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  12. #12

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Good friend has the best of both worlds, a Jeff Rowland model 8 T that he had customized by Jeff himself, and a pair of the latest Jadis JA30mk2 mono blocks, utilizing the new KT150 tubes..for tube sound. His set up is extraordinary and the sound is amazing. Best of both worlds, ss and tube...needless to say, I am fairly envious!

  13. #13
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pearce Harrison View Post
    Good friend has the best of both worlds, a Jeff Rowland model 8 T that he had customized by Jeff himself, and a pair of the latest Jadis JA30mk2 mono blocks, utilizing the new KT150 tubes..for tube sound. His set up is extraordinary and the sound is amazing. Best of both worlds, ss and tube...needless to say, I am fairly envious!

    So, are you talking about a tube amp that can also be run SS?

  14. #14
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    I think its important to make the distinction between Class A and Class A/B (or any other class) when thinking about SS.
    Class A SS can sound very tube like and still give one the qualities SS is well know for.

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  15. #15
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    I like both, and have both. My Tube system amp is Hybrid tho with full tube Pre.

    I like tubes for what they do and like Mr Peabody stated, I like SS for the same reasons.

    Best compromise, and what I had previously, is Tube Pre with SS Amp.
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  16. #16

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pearce Harrison View Post
    Good friend has the best of both worlds, a Jeff Rowland model 8 T that he had customized by Jeff himself, and a pair of the latest Jadis JA30mk2 mono blocks, utilizing the new KT150 tubes..for tube sound. His set up is extraordinary and the sound is amazing. Best of both worlds, ss and tube...needless to say, I am fairly envious!
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  17. #17

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrassphile View Post
    So, are you talking about a tube amp that can also be run SS?
    No two separate amps...one is a Jadis (tube), the other is a Rowland (ss).

  18. #18

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    I actually prefer the sound of tubes.

  19. #19

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by bluegrassphile View Post
    So, are you talking about a tube amp that can also be run SS?
    Are there any such amps?

  20. #20
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    tubes!! in addition to a very musical, organic sound the amber glow of the tubes across the room just adds to the experience.

    and, if you want to be a minimalist / purist then consider SET (single ended triode) amps which are hand-made with point-to-point wiring. nothing better, imo.
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  21. #21
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Solid State. Why? Although I have heard some nice tube set-ups I have never walked away saying "I wish I would own that".
    Jim

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  22. #22
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Not to my knowledge, and would seem to be complex and expensive. However, if it happened, you could run SS until the amp warmed up then switch to tube. That may not work either if the tubes weren't glowing.

    Cary Audio in some components offer a both tube or SS output. I think Peachtree did as well. Never heard of a power amp though. Then there are hybrids with tube areas and either transistor or Class D outputs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pearce Harrison View Post
    Are there any such amps?
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  23. #23
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Myers View Post
    I go back and forth. I don't need tons of power and I love amplifiers and preamps that suck you into the music. The little T+A amplifier is a great sounding SS amp; I really enjoy a good class A amplifier such as the First Watt. I will switch my SS in when I am in the mood... but... tubes have grabbed me...

    The SET mono blocks are just magical... if you don't need to knock the walls down but want the most musical amplifiers SET is hard to beat. Whenever I put my SS in the system I fairly quickly get itching for that magic .

    The tubes themselves make huge differences, but there in lies the biggest issue with tubes... that rabbit hole of tube rolling... but there in also is where much of the magic happens.

    At those power levels you are really comparing Clipping characteristics of the amplifiers ...

  24. #24
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene View Post
    I think its important to make the distinction between Class A and Class A/B (or any other class) when thinking about SS.
    Class A SS can sound very tube like and still give one the qualities SS is well know for.

    All SS amps are a/ab very rare to have full class A and that ability is at 8 ohms only, if your speakers see 4 ohm and below your amp will transition to class B ..



    Regards

  25. #25

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pearce Harrison View Post
    Good friend has the best of both worlds, a Jeff Rowland model 8 T that he had customized by Jeff himself, and a pair of the latest Jadis JA30mk2 mono blocks, utilizing the new KT150 tubes..for tube sound. His set up is extraordinary and the sound is amazing. Best of both worlds, ss and tube...needless to say, I am fairly envious!
    Why should you be envious? You are talking about your own system.
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  26. #26
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    Why should you be envious? You are talking about your own system.
    ????
    .

  27. #27
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    Why should you be envious? You are talking about your own system.
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  28. #28

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    Why should you be envious? You are talking about your own system.

    I wish, lol.
    while I know whom you are talking, I am not him.

  29. #29

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by puroagave View Post
    Pearce, meet Davey. Davey, meet Pearce. LOL
    Rob, you nailed it.
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  30. #30

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    Rob, you nailed it.

    Believe what you will.

  31. #31

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pearce Harrison View Post
    Believe what you will.
    I believe in the truth. You are DaveyF. I read your other posts here and I know your writing style. It's too funny that you pretended to be a friend of yourself and bragged on your own system.
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  32. #32
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    I'm a guy with a preference for tubes, but insist on the low noise and linearity of solid state. my reference from years past was the sound of Tenor 75 watt OTL mono blocks. which were a very linear tube amplifier. alas; the Tenor's tended to explode and were generally not reliable. then I happened on the darTZeel solid state amp which got close to tubes, but had the attributes of solid state I liked. I'd call them a very minimalist and natural sounding amplifier.

    so for the last 15 years I've used solid state amps, but I would generally call myself a 'tube' guy.

    a year ago I revisited some 'uber' tube amps to see once and for all where my direction should be. I just had to scratch this long term itch for tubes. so I purchased a set of Lamm ML3 mono blocks, and borrowed a set of VAC Statement 450's and spent 3 months comparing them to my dart 458 solid state mono blocks.

    I found out that while I loved many great things about tubes, and these were 2 fantastic sets of tube amps for sure, for me the solid state darts get me closest to the music. they get out of the way. the big darts can excel on all the music. with those tube amps I'm always reminded that I'm listening to tubes......as beautiful as they can sound.

    if I listed my 5 or 10 favorite amps most of them would be tube amps, but at the top would be the darTZeel solid state.

    lastly; I think system context has it's place in this question. it's easier to add tubes to a system than to sort out all the nasty's of a room or gear. tubes can beautify and satisfy. going the solid state way can make more demands on the degree of refinement everywhere else in a system......to find that natural listen ability. horses for courses and all that. but when everything is really dialed in then solid state has the most upside to my ears.

    YMMV, just my 2 cents, and all that stuff.

  33. #33

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    I'm a guy with a preference for tubes, but insist on the low noise and linearity of solid state. my reference from years past was the sound of Tenor 75 watt OTL mono blocks. which were a very linear tube amplifier. alas; the Tenor's tended to explode and were generally not reliable. then I happened on the darTZeel solid state amp which got close to tubes, but had the attributes of solid state I liked. I'd call them a very minimalist and natural sounding amplifier.

    so for the last 15 years I've used solid state amps, but I would generally call myself a 'tube' guy.

    a year ago I revisited some 'uber' tube amps to see once and for all where my direction should be. I just had to scratch this long term itch for tubes. so I purchased a set of Lamm ML3 mono blocks, and borrowed a set of VAC Statement 450's and spent 3 months comparing them to my dart 458 solid state mono blocks.

    I found out that while I loved many great things about tubes, and these were 2 fantastic sets of tube amps for sure, for me the solid state darts get me closest to the music. they get out of the way. the big darts can excel on all the music. with those tube amps I'm always reminded that I'm listening to tubes......as beautiful as they can sound.

    if I listed my 5 or 10 favorite amps most of them would be tube amps, but at the top would be the darTZeel solid state.

    lastly; I think system context has it's place in this question. it's easier to add tubes to a system than to sort out all the nasty's of a room or gear. tubes can beautify and satisfy. going the solid state way can make more demands on the degree of refinement everywhere else in a system......to find that natural listen ability. horses for courses and all that. but when everything is really dialed in then solid state has the most upside to my ears.

    YMMV, just my 2 cents, and all that stuff.
    I don't agree with your inference that tubes allow you not to "sort out all of the nasty's of a room or gear." I have had all SS systems and all tube systems and the same amount of work is required to set up either of them. If SS gear doesn't sound good in a room where a tube system shines, it's not the room's fault.
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  34. #34
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    I don't agree with your inference that tubes allow you not to "sort out all of the nasty's of a room or gear." I have had all SS systems and all tube systems and the same amount of work is required to set up either of them. If SS gear doesn't sound good in a room where a tube system shines, it's not the room's fault.
    a room can be a factor in tube or solid state choice. not saying it's an absolute. no different than a tube or solid state phono stage or dac output stage. in all these situations tubes can allow greater listenability.

    we don't have to agree.....as I said YMMV, just my 2 cents, and all that stuff.

  35. #35

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    a room can be a factor in tube or solid state choice. not saying it's an absolute. no different than a tube or solid state phono stage or dac output stage. in all these situations tubes can allow greater listenability.

    we don't have to agree.....as I said YMMV, just my 2 cents, and all that stuff.
    The room is always a determining factor in the ultimate sound quality you can achieve regardless of whether the system is SS or tube based. If your room sucks, it doesn't matter how much money you spend on gear or whether you buy SS or tube gear. I think we can agree on that.
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  36. #36

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    I believe in the truth. You are DaveyF. I read your other posts here and I know your writing style. It's too funny that you pretended to be a friend of yourself and bragged on your own system.
    Dude, I heard you had a fetish with this guy, what's up with that??

  37. #37

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pearce Harrison View Post
    Dude, I heard you had a fetish with this guy, what's up with that??
    Your busted.
    Micro Seiki SX-8000 air bearing table, SME 312s arm, SME 3012R arn, Dynavector XV-1s cartridge, Lyra Etna SL cartridge, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 2 track R2R, Ampex 350 tape repros, Roon Nucleus Plus music server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6, ARC Ref 75 with KT-150s, JBL 4345 speakers, Viero Equilibro Level 3 speaker cables, and Definitive Technology Ref subs.

  38. #38
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Behave Dave.


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  39. #39
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Why is it at 8 ohms only? I recently read a discussion on whether the Class A increase power into 4 ohms like A/B. Meaning if an amp was onl Class A up to 10 watts would it pproduce more than 10 watts into 4 ohms in Class A. Although I admit after reading I still don't know the answer, I got a bit lost, however, no mention of what you said that would have made their discussion moot.

    Quote Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
    All SS amps are a/ab very rare to have full class A and that ability is at 8 ohms only, if your speakers see 4 ohm and below your amp will transition to class B ..



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  40. #40
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Mostly tubes, but always some tubes.
    They add a dimension of depth and ambiance that I don't hear in SS gear.
    Although some SS comes closer than others, they all fall short of the mark until a tube (or more) is added to the system.
    I find that a mix of the two can provide superb results.
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  41. #41
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Why is it at 8 ohms only? I recently read a discussion on whether the Class A increase power into 4 ohms like A/B. Meaning if an amp was onl Class A up to 10 watts would it pproduce more than 10 watts into 4 ohms in Class A. Although I admit after reading I still don't know the answer, I got a bit lost, however, no mention of what you said that would have made their discussion moot.
    Unless the amp was made with some sort of auto increase on the Bias class A bias is fixed and will half on every halving of load ..

    10w @ 8
    5 watt @ 4
    2.5 w @ 2

    now increasing via auto Bias scheme will be complex and large , as the heatload and PSU draw would be extensive and would require serious over design and cost ..

    SS amps do require the same effort to match amp to load as toobs , well even more so as there’s No output transformers to match load, speaker sensitivity will determine the SPL your amp slides out of A to Class B ..


    IMO , its best to match to 33% of rated output vs speaker sensitivity and desired SPL when looking at SS amps , if you listen mostly classical a little higher class A bias for low level resolution and body is a good thing ..


    Regards

  42. #42
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by jadedavid View Post
    Mostly tubes, but always some tubes.
    They add a dimension of depth and ambiance that I don't hear in SS gear.
    Although some SS comes closer than others, they all fall short of the mark until a tube (or more) is added to the system.
    I find that a mix of the two can provide superb results.

    SS amplification with a tooby pre-amp can be magical for sure ....

  43. #43
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    a room can be a factor in tube or solid state choice. not saying it's an absolute. no different than a tube or solid state phono stage or dac output stage. in all these situations tubes can allow greater listenability.

    we don't have to agree.....as I said YMMV, just my 2 cents, and all that stuff.

    Agree totally Mike , as your system gets closer to Fullrange response and dynamic room issues , electrical and signal supply issues not noticed before, will be exposed. this grundge not noticed before on lesser setups, usually gets blamed on the SS amp..

    The effort now required to sort is massive , especially when one can just plug in “something “ else and go. massive underpowered systems , tend to get away as clipping dominates , this changes the soundscspe entirely ...


    With your current massive reserves of power , this unlimited freedom is easily heard and unacceptable with less...

    Regards

  44. #44
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Tubes.

    Good tube amps sound more natural to me and bring real 3D sound from a stereo setup.

    But i heard bad setups with tube amps too. It's always the perfect match of the components.

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  45. #45
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
    Unless the amp was made with some sort of auto increase on the Bias class A bias is fixed and will half on every halving of load ..

    10w @ 8
    5 watt @ 4
    2.5 w @ 2

    now increasing via auto Bias scheme will be complex and large , as the heatload and PSU draw would be extensive and would require serious over design and cost ..

    SS amps do require the same effort to match amp to load as toobs , well even more so as there’s No output transformers to match load, speaker sensitivity will determine the SPL your amp slides out of A to Class B ..


    IMO , its best to match to 33% of rated output vs speaker sensitivity and desired SPL when looking at SS amps , if you listen mostly classical a little higher class A bias for low level resolution and body is a good thing ..


    Regards
    I do not claim to understand much if any about the technical whys and how. However I know that some Class A amps are rated to produce more into 4 ohm then 8 ohm. An example was the First Watt F6 that I owned. Wonderful amplifier. It was hand built by Nelson and he rated it at 25 WPC into 8 ohm and 50 WPC into 4 ohm.
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  46. #46
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    I think, "They add a dimension of depth and ambiance that I don't hear in SS gear." states the tube side well. I refer to the presentation as "presence" but it's something that just gives a more flesh and life feel.


    Quote Originally Posted by jadedavid View Post
    Mostly tubes, but always some tubes.
    They add a dimension of depth and ambiance that I don't hear in SS gear.
    Although some SS comes closer than others, they all fall short of the mark until a tube (or more) is added to the system.
    I find that a mix of the two can provide superb results.
    Aurender ACS10 w/AQ Diamond,
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  47. #47

    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    a room can be a factor in tube or solid state choice. not saying it's an absolute. no different than a tube or solid state phono stage or dac output stage. in all these situations tubes can allow greater listenability.

    we don't have to agree.....as I said YMMV, just my 2 cents, and all that stuff.
    Yes, when my system became high resolution, and more extended in the high frequencies, I realized that I had to work on my room acoustics even more than before. I started to hear all kinds of remaining room nasties that were previously masked. With a more forgiving tube amp things would have been listenable much easier. Not with my current, very HF extended tube amp (Octave) that has been characterized pejoratively by some as 'transistory' sounding. But then, with this amp (soon to be mated with Octave preamp) I reach a much higher sound quality than with a more 'forgiving' amp, especially now that my room has further improved.
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  48. #48
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    A bit off topic but needs to be asked.
    Has anyone tried new tubes at the rated half life of a tube ?
    I have and it's sad but tubes die out or have unpleasant changes long before we may change them. This is with recti , drivers or output.
    So while I love my tube dacs I prefer all SS after.
    Tube rolling one component is mad enough and having a complete line up knowing this and how each brand be it nos or new is way more trouble then I would deal with.
    At my age growing up in tube days makes love there glow. It's magic to see them. But once I play new tubes and hear what has already started to change makes me feel good about my steely SS stuff.
    My two cents.
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  49. #49
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
    At those power levels you are really comparing Clipping characteristics of the amplifiers ...
    Quote Originally Posted by a.wayne View Post
    All SS amps are a/ab very rare to have full class A and that ability is at 8 ohms only, if your speakers see 4 ohm and below your amp will transition to class B ..



    Regards
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    I'm a guy with a preference for tubes, but insist on the low noise and linearity of solid state. my reference from years past was the sound of Tenor 75 watt OTL mono blocks. which were a very linear tube amplifier. alas; the Tenor's tended to explode and were generally not reliable. then I happened on the darTZeel solid state amp which got close to tubes, but had the attributes of solid state I liked. I'd call them a very minimalist and natural sounding amplifier.

    so for the last 15 years I've used solid state amps, but I would generally call myself a 'tube' guy.

    a year ago I revisited some 'uber' tube amps to see once and for all where my direction should be. I just had to scratch this long term itch for tubes. so I purchased a set of Lamm ML3 mono blocks, and borrowed a set of VAC Statement 450's and spent 3 months comparing them to my dart 458 solid state mono blocks.

    I found out that while I loved many great things about tubes, and these were 2 fantastic sets of tube amps for sure, for me the solid state darts get me closest to the music. they get out of the way. the big darts can excel on all the music. with those tube amps I'm always reminded that I'm listening to tubes......as beautiful as they can sound.

    if I listed my 5 or 10 favorite amps most of them would be tube amps, but at the top would be the darTZeel solid state.

    lastly; I think system context has it's place in this question. it's easier to add tubes to a system than to sort out all the nasty's of a room or gear. tubes can beautify and satisfy. going the solid state way can make more demands on the degree of refinement everywhere else in a system......to find that natural listen ability. horses for courses and all that. but when everything is really dialed in then solid state has the most upside to my ears.

    YMMV, just my 2 cents, and all that stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    a room can be a factor in tube or solid state choice. not saying it's an absolute. no different than a tube or solid state phono stage or dac output stage. in all these situations tubes can allow greater listenability.

    we don't have to agree.....as I said YMMV, just my 2 cents, and all that stuff.
    Quote Originally Posted by mep View Post
    The room is always a determining factor in the ultimate sound quality you can achieve regardless of whether the system is SS or tube based. If your room sucks, it doesn't matter how much money you spend on gear or whether you buy SS or tube gear. I think we can agree on that.
    mep I agree with mike L a ss amp may need more attention due to it being more powerful
    more Linear over all. Where tubes vary and in most cases not attack a room like Ss does.
    Tubes have magic but in part it's clipping and various distortions we may like.
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  50. #50
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    Re: Do you prefer SS or tube? Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gene View Post
    I think its important to make the distinction between Class A and Class A/B (or any other class) when thinking about SS.
    Class A SS can sound very tube like and still give one the qualities SS is well know for.
    A friend recently brought over his amp to hear in my system. My class A Pass Labs monoblocks sounded more like what people are describing here from tube amps and his pentode tube amp sounded more like how people typically describe SS amps, at least that is how I heard the difference in my system. I was surprised by the result. They both sounded good, but different in unexpected ways.

    I then heard his amp compared to a third friend's CAT triode monoblocks. Again his pentode tube amp sounded a bit more like a SS amp in that system, a bit cooler and dryer than the CAT monos. There was slightly greater emphasis on the leading edge. Perhaps they sounded more "detailed" but slightly less warm and natural.

    I am not so sure it is as easy to generalize about tube vs. SS sound today as it once was. If we make the distinction between Class A and AB solid state, perhaps we should also be more specific about triode or pentode mode with tube amps. IMO, the distinctions of the past are being blurred somewhat with the few current designs that I have heard.
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